Friday, February 3, 2012

R We Who We R?

     I found the missing book for the boyfriend's birthday while browsing a Barnes 'n' Noble downstate.  He was preoccupied, so I dashed to the (well-hidden) checkout.  The girl behind the counter complimented my make up, which is something I always like.  But then she proceeded to go on and on and on about their rewards program, even after I explained we have none of their stores in my area.  Fearful of being caught, I told her I'd check it out, took my receipt, and shoved everything in my purse.  He was awed by my cunning when I told him the story after he opened the gift.  I believe he now has half a dozen books in his reading queue, which is quite impressive for someone who claims to not like reading.  He stayed up until almost 3 last night reading a book called Outliers (which he received for Christmas.)  Meanwhile, I passed out over my copy of Catcher in the Rye.

     Ah, Salinger.  I admit I haven't read any of his other works, but Catcher in the Rye is one that I come back to again and again.  I first read it in high school for English, and I wasn't sure I liked it.  Sometimes I will go back to a book after a long period to see if my feelings on it change.  The past couple times, I found some of it boring and hard to follow.  This time, I finally get it.  I think Holden is, in a way, like everyone-- struggling.  In my earlier years though I had been through some rough things, I still lacked the cynicism to appreciate his thinking.  Now, after a number of years living 'in the real world' (and in a job that requires servicing others), I can relate a little too well.  If Holden were a real person and I met him, I might kind of think he's an ass.  He is, for one, a self-proclaimed liar.  He loves to mess with people, and anyone who is any less straightforward than myself pisses me off (meaning that the general populace drives me mad.) 

     Being in his head, however, changes things considerably.  I get it.  He gets it.  We're similar people, which momentarily makes me wonder if I should worry.  But no, Holden and I are right-- people as a whole are ignorant, phony, automatic.  I have been told numerously by different people that I am socially awkward.  I lack the grace, the finesse, the ability to win people over with nauseating charm.  At first those words hurt, but now I'm kind of okay with that.  Social acceptability is a trap.  Play by the rules, and you find you must do this do that be this think that don't say do think act out of line.  The thing is, I am bold.  Some would say tactless, and perhaps that's true.  The thing I can't figure out, though-- when did honesty and cold hard truth become outlawed?

     I feel as though I've gotten way off topic, ended up turning in a direction I never meant to follow.  Oddly, I'm okay with that.  So maybe, if you've made it this far, you can answer this question-- why isn't it okay to be real?


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Don't stop.

     I've been meaning to post for weeks, but always find an excuse not to.  After much contemplating, hair-pulling, and general hemming and hawing, I've come to one very simple conclusion:  I'm so afraid to post the wrong thing that I end up not posting at all.  All truly 'great bloggers' are witty and insightful, qualities that I don't have.  I would like to make this about life in general and not just books, but have had no clue where to start.  I decided today to start with something other than me, so here goes nothing...

     My boyfriend has been acting very strangely lately.  And I don't mean in a sitcom-y covering-something-up sort of way.  I mean very sudden, complete 180 sort of change. 

     It began about a month before Christmas when I asked what he would like for the holidays.  I got typical answers-- CDs, movies, miscellaneous items.  I was listening, nodding, making mental notes.  And then he said "There's this book I really want, too." 

     I felt my eyeballs pop out of my head, slime down my cheeks, and plop onto the floor.  Allow me to explain this gross and unrealistic reaction:

     He is readily the first to admit that, until about 6 months ago, he'd never finished a book in his entire life.  He has never understood my obsessive love for the hundreds of tomes that take up shelves upon shelves in the corner of the bedroom, just a bit to left of one of his prized televisions.  I suspect he secretly finds it a bit silly.  So for someone with such a lack of history with the glorious act of reading is like someone who hates science asking for a microscope.  For years he has resisted my schemes to get his nose in the pages.

     But it didn't stop there; another week or two went by, and he requested another book!  Two books?!  That's twice as many as he'd ever read!  He really wanted two books?  It seemed crazy to me, but that's what he wanted so that's what he got.  He also seemed interested in yet another while we were out one day, so I got it for him on audio.  (He drives quite a bit so I thought it would give him something interesting to listen to during the long hours.) 

     It doesn't even stop there.

     His birthday is a mere 5 weeks after Christmas, so I usually start scrambling for other gift ideas soon after.  He's mentioned a few things here and there, asked specifically for a couple CDs, and... another book?!?!  Yes.  That book came in the mail yesterday.  The day before I was browsing a bookstore with a friend and text the boyfriend to ask if there was anything else he wanted.  He requested (wait for it...) another book.  And another.  One I couldn't find, but the other was in my hands once an employee pointed me in the right direction.

     I wrapped all his gifts today (excluding one that is still in transit), and the big day is next week.  I'm excited to see the genuine joy when he unwraps the heavy, bound pages.  He'll have a nice little stack going, and though it make take him as long as it'll take me to get through the 60+ waiting for me, it's worth sitting next to him and seeing him engrossed in something that an infinite number of people have been doing for thousands and thousands of years.

     Did I mention that he recently finished reading a novel for school?  In a relatively short time, too, and he seems pretty proud of himself.  I hope it doesn't stop there.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mug shot.

     Check it out, my awesome custom mug came in the mail not too long ago!  It's blue, has glasses similar to my trademark pair, and the blog's URL on it!  I think the proper slang for this occasion is "SWEEEEEET!"  A travel mug would have been even cooler, get the word out there about the blog and such.  I'm about to add it to StumbleUpon, though, so hopefully some bookalicious nerds will find me in their quest for amazingness on the internet.

      I was Stumbling myself today when I discovered this gem--  Tell it which genres you like, then rate the books that pop up.  After you rate enough, it'll suggest other books tailored to your taste!  Rate more, better results.  Kinda like Netflix, which I have been watching instead of reading Catch 22.  Maybe they made a movie of it... 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I think I have a new addiction.

     I just clicked the "new post" button for the first time in over a month.  It scared me. 

     But here I am, back and hopefully better than ever.  Which brings me to my very important topic:  apple butter.

     I first heard of apple butter several years ago in, of  course, a book.  One of my favorite books, actually-- Weeping Willow by Ruth White.  The main character, Tiny, invites her city friends to visit her modest holler and make apple butter with her neighbors.  I've read the book so many times (I've had it for over ten years), I could probably do it myself.  Peel, core, add spices, boil to perfection.  But until recently I had never tried or even seen it.

     Skip back to Monday:  a work friend and I both had the day off and felt like some adventure, so we drove to the outskirts of town to test our navigation skills at Jacob's Corn Maze.  It was as true to October as any day can get:  chilly, windy, waffling between warm sunshine and precarious clouds.  We spent a couple hours twisting, turning through corn stalks; laughing at ourselves; jumping with joy when we found one of the trail markers.  We finished the first two mazes, then decided to skip the third and buy some cider and donuts in the barn.

     Lining the barn walls were shelves of canned goods, preserved right there on the farm.  I scanned the rows of jams, coffees, snacks.  Strawberry jam, blackberry jam, freshest coffee I've ever smelled.  My eyes fell upon the apple butter, and I thought of Tiny and her friends, having the grandest time behind Aunt Evie's shack.  I have a habit of buying things that remind me of books, and this was no exception.
     I ate so much at dinner on Monday and had to rush to work the next morning, it wasn't until Tuesday evening that I had a chance to sample my prize.  I had no idea (and still don't) as to what one does with apple butter.  I decided to treat it like a similarly named food:  peanut butter.  So I popped some bread in the toaster, slathered it on the toast, and took a bite.  My first wonderful, glorious bite.  I have mixed feelings on apples (I think it's a textural issue), but this was, without question, simply amazing.  If my tongue had knees, they would have gone weak.

     I have now eaten it multiple times a day for the last several days.  My jar is half empty, I suspect another trip to the farm is in order.  Perhaps I could even splurge on a jar of my favorite-- blackberry jam.   

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bad news...Good news.

     I know I know I know.  You don't need to tell me:  I've been lazy with the blog lately.  I'm well aware, and my excuse is always the same:  working 50+ hours a week.  On the bright side, I have some good news:  those days will soon be over.  I'm cutting back to one job, and therefore I will actually have time for a life and things I enjoy. 

     So, I've decided to take an official break to finish up my time at the extra job and get myself back to normal.  I expect to have things sorted out by October, and plan to start things up again.  Please feel free to still leave comments here, send e-mails, or post on the site's Facebook page.
     Until then, keep cracking!